Although every staff and volunteer leader in every local church, at least occasionally, thinks the answer to volunteer-recruitment falls on the persuasive, impassioned vision-cast of the senior pastor; alas, it does not. In fact, studies show that in and out of the church, more than 40 percent of Americans who volunteered in 2007 did so because another volunteer personally invited them. Yes, effective volunteer recruitment boils down to personal invitation. Encourage your people to invite their friends to join them in volunteering. Effective shoulder-tapping is key to connecting your people through volunteering.
If your personal invitation to ministry can’t be summarized in about a minute and a half, you’re not ready to shoulder-tap. People are busy. People are constantly solicited for their money and time, in and out of church. Your invitation to them had better strike a chord in less than two minutes, or you’ll lose their interest. An effective personal invitation has three parts: personal affirmation, a distinct opportunity, and your personal passion for the opportunity.
If you were merely recruiting to fill quotas for volunteers, this wouldn’t be a factor. However, we’re not merely recruiting. Your focus must be on the individual who brings a unique contribution to your church. How will you help this individual become involved in a way that helps him or her build relationships, develop ownership, and take steps with God?
Verbalize the explicit skills, giftedness, and personality traits you see in this person. Be specific. “I’ve noticed your gregarious interaction with people around you. I saw how you went out of your way to help that young woman get to the children’s center to pick up her daughter. You seem to have a natural, disarming approach to people.” Do you think this prospective volunteer is checking out of the conversation? No, she’s affirmed. You’ve noticed her, and you’ve noticed her for who she is.
A Distinct Opportunity
The second part is an invitation to explore a specific volunteer area that you believe your friend’s uniqueness matches. So you add, “Because of the way you relate to people, I think you’d be in your element volunteering in guest services here at the church. You’re already greeting and assisting other guests around you. You’re a natural fit on our guest services team!”
Your Personal Passion
Occasionally I’ve had a friend or family member hold a forkful of food
up to my face and say, “Try this!”
“Have you tried it?” I ask.
“Then why should I be your guinea pig?” I respond.
I enjoy new foods; it’s an adventure for me. But even I feel set up when the new dish doesn’t come with a recommendation based on personal experience.
Your invitation will yield similar results if you can’t support your recommendation with an enthusiastic, personal endorsement. The final part of the 90-second invitation sounds like this: “I volunteer as a greeter in our guest service area, and I love it! I’ve met some fantastic people on the team; now this place doesn’t seem as big to me. Plus, the more I give, the more I receive. I’m having the time of my life!”
In less than 90 seconds, you’ve affirmed your friend, outlined the opportunity, and shared your personal passion. Sometimes that brief conversation may be enough to invite the person to meet a team leader, attend an orientation, or shadow you during a service.
Effective shoulder-tapping, to invite people into ministry, is your greatest recruitment tool. Make it personal. Be affirming. Be specific. Be passionate.
This article has been excerpted from Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging by Mark Waltz. Church Volunteer Central members save 20% on this title when purchasing through the CVC Store. Members of Church Volunteer Central also have access to thousands of helpful resources–such as our Spiritual Gifts Assessment, Ministry Descriptions, Downloadable Images, and more!
The above article, “Opening the Door to New Convert Involvement Begins With a Tap-Tap” was written by Mark Waltz. The article was excerpted from Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”
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